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Robert Barker, a Scottish painter, not only invented and patented (1787) the panorama, but also coined the word. A panorama is a landscape scene that is painted on the inside of a cylinder. This technique made the viewer feel as if the landscape was all around him, and sometimes, the landscape would be moved by rollers within the cylinder.

Barker's first panorama was completed in 1789 and showed a view of his home town Edinburgh. Barker was inspired to make his machine from views that he obtained by using a camera obscura. The panorama "Eidomeiropolis" in 1802, painted by Girtin, is considered to be the most successful panorama artistically. In New York, the idea became known in 1795; this form of art was prevalent in the United States up to the middle of the nineteenth century.

Cole, Dunlap and Trumbull (the American artists) created panoramas. Carracciolo, the Italian artist, painted a panorama in 1824; it is one of the few old ones still in existence and can be seen in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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